Wednesday, 14th May 2014, in the middle of our almost annual (missed last year but have been there for the previous 7-8 years) week’s trip to the Gower, camping at Bank Farm at Horton we (Liz and I) decided to have a day’s fishing from Mumbles Pier.
We had originally intended fishing the beach and rocks in the bay (Horton-Port Eynon) directly below our campsite. As an aside, we were only about a 20 yard walk from the beach, but unfortunately at the end it would also have involved a fall about 200 feet down the cliff!. Anyway, due to tide times being the most inconvenient for us for beach fishing we decided to fish the pier instead.
The pier has/is undergoing a major (£25m) refurbishment by its owners and, in fact, had been closed for nearly two years preceding our visit only, by luck, partially re-opening the week before our holiday and a lot of work is still to be done. Currently only 200 people in total are allowed on at any one time and also there is a maximum of 20 anglers. Part of the refurbishment is the planned fitting of fishing platforms for the entire length of the pier on both sides but currently there are 2 stages, one either side, each of which accommodates 10 anglers, towards the end of the pier. The end of the pier is now the new lifeboat station and ramp – the old one, now unused, is still standing, being on the left of the pier, halfway along and down a short bridge from the pier itself. On arrival, and on paying for our £5 day tickets at the entrance, the guy there told us that currently the left hand platform was good for conger eel and that the right hand platform was fishing well for dogfish and codling. Not wanting to have to tangle with unhooking conger we chose to fish the the right hand side for dogfish and codling – and whatever else happened along.
So, we’d arrived on the pier at around 1230 with the tide at virtually its lowest point and due to reach high tide at 1830. Rods were NGT Surfmasters (12’, rated for casting weights of 120g (4oz) to 225g (8oz)) fitted with Fladen Charter Surf 7000 fixed spool reels loaded with 20lb mono. End tackle comprised of a paternoster style setup with a 5oz lead at the end of the line and 2 x 18” hooklengths – the first 18” above the weight and the second another 20” above that – using Mustad stainless steel beaked point hooks with barbed shafts (bait holder type) in size 1/0.
Baits used were sardine/herring fillets that I had prepared before leaving home (Midlands) by filleting spare leftover pike baits from the freezer, salting and bagging. This way there was no need to keep whole fish frozen – just chilled but even that was unnecessary – and less bulk and weight to carry. This was also supplemented by some raw bacon scraps we had left over from our breakfast needs. Generally, we baited the lower hook with bacon and the upper hook with pieces of fish fillet.
In the end, I managed two small dogfish and a few crabs. Liz was less fortunate but had crabs on that fell off on the way up but no real bites and no fish.
We finished the fishing day at 1630 – the pier closes at 1800 anyway – and headed off for ice cream sundaes and coffee at the café.
BTW – by the pier is a well-stocked fishing tackle shop called Basstastics which also sells various preserved, frozen and fresh baits.
Pics of the day:
These blue wraps are meant to attach goods to the roof bars of a car and are cheap (£1 for 4 from Poundland IIRC) and useful in pier fishing too, to keep your ready made up rods together for transport … and as a secure rod cushion and holder onto the pier railings….
A drop net is very good for landing those bigger fish when on a high pier, etc…
… but sometimes wind and waves and current make getting fish and net together a real test of patience…. but don’t panic as a simple device makes life so much easier that it becomes child’s play…..